Babar, Rizwan help Pakistan down England in first T20I

The first T20I was played in Nottingham

Babar, Rizwan help Pakistan down England in first T20I PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan beat England by 31 runs in the first T20I despite Livingstone’s 103-run innings on Friday, to take 1-0 lead in three-match T20I series.

Chasing a mammoth target of 233, Pakistan got an ideal start as Shaheen Afridi got rid of number-one ranked T20I batsman Dawid Malan for one.

Jason Roy decided to target Imad Wasim and hit the all-rounder for three sixes in his second over, getting England back on track with the required run-rate.

Jonny Bairstow was looking equally dangerous but was late to a short delivery by Afridi and edged one to Wasim and departed for 11.

Mohammad Hasnain gave just two runs and took an important wicket of Moeen Ali, courtesy of a brilliant effort by Haris Rauf — who collided with Sohaib Maqsood while completing the catch.

Liam Livingstone looked in ominous form as he hit Haris Rauf for two sixes a boundary, taking England to 69-3 at the end of powerplay.

Shadab was welcomed into the attack with back to back sixes by Livingstone, but Pakistan vice-captain struck back in the same over by removing Roy for 32.

Livingstone continued to attack Shadab despite wickets falling at the other end. The hard-hitting batsman dispatched the spinner for a boundary to bring his fifty in just 17 balls, which is fastest by any England batsman in T20 cricket.

After hitting Imad for six earlier in the over, Morgan tried to go for another but was caught at deep mid-wicket by Rauf for 16.

Livingstone kept England’s hopes alive as he dispatched Shaheen for a six in the 15th over, bringing the equation down to 75 from 34 balls.

Shadab removed Lewis Gregory in the first ball of his final over to further dent England. However, it didn’t stop Livingstone who hit Shadab for a six on the next ball to bring his maiden T20I hundred in just 43 balls.

However, Shadab got his revenge on the next ball as Livingstone was caught at long on by Shaheen, bringing an end to a brilliant innings.

Willey, who has 2 T20 hundreds, kept England in the chase, as he raced to 16 from 8, bringing the equation to 32 from 11 balls.

But the target proved too stiff for Willey as he was caught by Shadab while trying to go for a six. Shaheen clean bowled Matt Parkinson in the final over to bowl out England for 201.

Earlier, Babar Azam’s 85-run knock and cameos from middle-order helped Pakistan post their highest T20I score of 232-6.

After being asked to bat first, Pakistan openers took their time in first two overs to get going. Babar Azam hit the accelerator button in the third over of the innings as he smashed David Willey for a hat-trick of boundaries.

As Rizwan was struggling to time the ball, Babar continued to hit the odd boundary in every over, to take Pakistan to 49 without loss at the end of powerplay.

On a batting-friendly pitch, Rizwan was going at a strike-rate of 100 before he decided to up the ante in the eight over as he hit Liam Livingstone for back to back to boundaries.

Babar brought up his fifty in just 35 balls to keep Pakistan on track for a big total. Pakistan captain took his team past 100 in style by dispatching Matt Parkinson for a six over deep mid-wicket. Rizwan also took inspiration from Babar and rendered the same treatment to Parkinson in the same over, taking Pakistan to 111/0 at the end of 12 overs.

Despite struggling early on, Rizwan brought up his fifty faster than Babar, completing it in just 34 balls.

Babar took a particular liking to Parkinson as he hit spinner for a six and a four on consecutive deliveries. The duo combined for a 150-run partnership before Rizwan was caught behind for 63 on the bowling of Lewis Gregory.

Sohaib Maqsood welcomed Tom Curran back into the attack by hitting back to back sixes as he raced to 19 from 6 balls. However, Curran got his revenge in the same over as he was caught at deep mid-wicket while trying to slog for another six.

Babar Azam was undone in the next over by Willey as he was caught behind by Bairstow.

Fakhar Zaman displayed his intentions straight away as he went on a rampage against Saqib Mahmood, hitting the pacer for three sixes in the 18th over.

Hafeez also joined the party in the next over as he smashed Tom Curran for two sixes and a boundary. Curran bowled Hafeez on the last ball of his spell, but not before the veteran all-rounder scored 24 in 10 balls.